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Topic of the Month - July 2014

Military Family Finances

July is when we find ourselves spending more time outdoors with our family and friends. We make road trips across the country to camp in national parks; we visit distant relatives made closer by summer break and interstates; and play in the same lakes and rivers that our grandparents did generations before us. We celebrate our freedoms as we gather with our community for BBQs and fireworks on July 4.

This month, we think it is important to extend our patriotic gratitude by sharing information and resources to help military and veterans achieve financial stability. Unfortunately, some of the same people who have made such sacrifices for our country, struggle financially at home. Some have trouble finding employment, some finding resources to go to college, others are crippled by a heavy debt load, just to name a few.

Did you know that military may be able to reduce their interest rate for liabilities incurred before they entered active duty to six percent under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act(SCRA)? Below is advice from Military One Source, on how to reduce your interest rates on debt while deployed.

To notify your creditors, complete the following steps through a written request

  • Provide your account or loan number.
  • Explain that you have been ordered to active duty and therefore request your monthly obligations be reduced to 6 percent for the period of your active duty service pursuant to your rights under the SCRA.
  • Let the creditor know your entry into service has materially affected your ability to meet this obligation.
  • Encourage the creditor to reduce the interest rate to under six percent as a gesture of good will toward America's military.
You can also request this retroactively, but you must provide written notice and a copy of your military orders to your creditors no later than 180 days after release from active military service. Also, this protection is for debt incurred before you were called to active duty, not new debt incurred while you were on duty.

It is important for military servicemembers to protect their finances so that they can continue to serve without the added stress of their families’ financial security. Throughout July we will be taking a look at ways to do this. Check back each week for tips on managing money, paying for college, finding legal assistance, and looking for employment after deployment.


Additional Resources:

Check out the following links for more great online resources for consumers. Entire section devoted to military finances, including VA loans, insurance needs, and retirement planning

Military One Source: Lists policies, procedures, timely articles, cutting-edge social media tools, and support all in one place to empower the military community

Military Saves: Military Saves is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and is dedicated to helping servicemembers and their families save money, reduce debt, and build wealth

Save and Invest: Unbiased financial tools and information for military families and all investors from the FINRA Foundation

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This Consumer Tip and is a joint project of Montana's Credit Unions and Montana Legal Services Association. has information about consumer issues, housing, money management, and more.

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